Grovana Watch Company
Grovana Watch Company makes its home in the farming village of
Tenniken, about 10 miles south of Basel. The modern three-story
glass building connects to the light brown two-story in the rear
that looks to have been built in the 1950's. The clock atop the
entrance door sports the correct time. The glass building (click
on picture to enlarge) isn't the entrance but I've locked my
bike there because it has been raining and the overhangs keeps
the bike dry.
Sitting down in one of the three scarlet leather chairs I check
the reading material while waiting for the friendly receptionist
to find out who ended up with my letter of introduction sent
a month earlier to Managing Director Heinz Schweizer. Four watch
magazines, including one in Japanese, sit atop a coffee table.
Schweizer appears and it seems a mistake has been made. Schweizer's
title isn't Managing Director but, Manager-Grovana Division.
When calling several months earlier asking for the name of the
company's CEO I was given incorrect information. Christopher
Bitterli is the Managing Director. It's no problem though as
Schweizer readily answers questions.
Grovana was founded in Tenniken back in 1924. In 2001 Grovana
took over Revue Thommen, a watch company with roots in the Basel
area going back to 1853. About 35 people work here. Parking isn't
a problem, there's no smoking in the workplace, no formal dress
code and it's 30 minutes to Basel's airport. It's two minutes
to the nearest freewaythe freeway runs right past the rear
of the buildings (behind the tall trees). Any employee perks?
Two watches a year can be purchased at cost.
Managing Director Christopher Bitterli occupies a corner office
on the first floor near the reception area. Not even a plant
or computer in his no-frills office. The view out the window?
The parking lot.